October 27, 2005

Miers withdraws.

Just as I had given up on expecting a withdrawal from Miers she withdraws:
Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

President Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.

"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House -- disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Bush said. "Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers -- and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her."

Miers' surprise withdrawal stunned Washington on a day when the capital was awaiting news on another front -- the possible indictment of senior White House aides in the CIA leak case.

Miers told the president she was withdrawing at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. In her letter dated Thursday, Miers said she was concerned that the confirmation process "would create a burden for the White House and our staff that is not in the best interest of the country."

She noted that members of the Senate had indicated their intention to seek documents about her service in the White House in order to judge whether to support her nomination to the Supreme Court. "I have been informed repeatedly that in lieu of records, I would be expected to testify about my service in the White House to demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy," she wrote.

"While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information will continue."
So he used the Krauthammer strategy of relying on the impasse over the documents.

Ah, so we don't have Miers to kick around anymore.

But what now? Can he find another Roberts or will he satisfy the conservatives who've been insisting on someone who really is openly another Scalia or Thomas?

23 comments:

miklos rosza said...

Who's next in line?

Michael said...

I'm glad she withdrew, but I can't help to feel sad for her, as a person. It isn't every day that you find out that both Republicans and Democrats, eventually, are against you.

I expect the new nomination tomorrow, the day the Special Prosecutor has to issue any indictments on the Plame matter. Expect it to be a controversial one. Bush needs the conservatives to back him, and it wouldn't hurt to distract from the Plame indictments, if there are any.

I'm waiting for someone to say Karl Rove nominated Miers, knowing she would have to withdraw about the time Fitzgerald issued any indictments.

Art said...

Bush doesn't have a lot of political capital at the moment.
Maybe he could do what he did for the federal reserve chair and nominate a safe academic type..a respected law professor....who actually voted for the president in the last election.

Let us know when Karl Rove calls.

jeff said...

"It isn't every day that you find out that both Republicans and Democrats, eventually, are against you."

Only for that particular job. I don't know of anyone saying she's unqualified for the job of White House counsel... although some may think it's ironic that her first duty will be helping choose her replacement as nominee.

But does this make it any more likely that the people that were front of her on the short list will agree to be nominated now?

SteveR said...

I was one that felt the early criticism was mostly reactionary and that I needed more information to judge her qualifications (as a lay person, of course). Hopefully the president will do a better job with his next nominee, I was willing to listen but they never made a case for her

Miers withdrawel was not a Rove move but keep your eye on Beta.

Jacques Cuze said...

With Rove out of the picture, my guess is on Björk.

Simon said...

I think the important thing is that we've all got to try to avoid the instinct to get triumphal. We have to work together again after this is all over, and many of those - Beldar springs to mind - who defended Miers did so honorably and respectfully.

Next? A nomination of Alito, Jones, Garza or Sykes would be nice. Mike Luttig or Steve Calabresi would be fine, but it won't be a white male.

Unlike Michael, my sympathy for her on a personal level is tempered by the fact that she accepted the nomination in the first place, knowing full well that she simply wasn't up to the job, and stubbornly refused to bow to self-evident reality that only a tiny number of people were enthusiastic for the nomination.

John(classic) said...

I think all involved ought feel a little ashamed of this one in that quiet place in our hearts where we go to be alone with ourselves.

Likely not the best of nominations, but this all could have been done more fairly and with more dignity.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John(classic) said...

Kozinski! Kozinski! Kozinski!

He is perfect. He is a prolific writer. He is brilliant. He is consistent but unpredictable. He will cause hackles to go up, will be widely attacked, will make for riveting hearings. He'll put a patch on the base.

My heavens he was on the Dating Game, was chosen, and then was stood up by his date!

Just the thing if one wants to move attention off other things.

And I think he would likely make a good justice.

KaneCitizen said...

Notice the parallels in the timeline between the Miers nomination and the WH Counsel's Office's efforts to make The Onion stop using the Presidential Seal. Oniongate?

Simon said...

"this all could have been done more fairly and with more dignity."

You're right. The dignified way to do it would have gone like this:

GWB: Harriet, I'd like you to be the nominee. Can I announce your name tommorow?
HM: Are you f*cking kidding me? Hell no!
End.

Now THAT would have been the most honorable way to handle this. If she had withdrawn after the first week, after it became clear that her nomination had disintegrated on contact with reality, I'd have some sympathy for her. But the reality is that - out of avarice, stupidity, stubbornness or sheer pride - has had the knife in the GOP for two weeks, doing tremendous damage to people's credibility (Hugh Hewitt, for example, will never, ever recover any vestage of credibility after his behavior in this affair). Withdrawing was the semi-right thing to do; the RIGHT thing to do would never have been to allow this mess to begin, which is what she was being paid for.

Sloanasaurus said...

Bush would be a fool at this point not to nominate one of the classics, i.e. Brown, Luttig, Jones, Owen. Bush has tons of political capital from this withdrawl among his base (and hopefully among Senators) Conservatives wanted this withdrawl and owe Bush big time if he nominates a good conservative.

The fight is on.

If Bush nominates a white male all the conspiracy theorists will think the Miers nomination was a set-up. The punditry will be interesting.

Sloanasaurus said...

I think it will be a white male.

Jacques Cuze said...

With Cheney distracted there's a good chance it will be the Swedish Chef. Bork! Bork! Bork!

Lawpolprof said...

Gonzales or Maureen Mahoney (aka, the female John Roberts)

StrangerInTheseParts said...

The Miers nomination was a thumb in the eye to the base. Bush has not grown any fonder of the conservatives who have now killed his nomination. It would not be surprising if he came up with another nominee that didn't entirely sit right with conservatives. He's gotta be pretty angry these days, and it ain't the dems that have his dander up.

That said - of couse he needs to rally his base now because his presidency is on the skids big time. If we get a raw-meat-for-the-base nominee it will be perceived all around as a sign of just how weak Bush has become. Even as conservatives will cheer and rally their Lion onto the bench, they will all know that Bush has lost his mojo.

He'd do well to find someone in the Roberts/Bernanke mold.

Gerry said...

Despite the fact that I was becoming increasingly convinced that Ms. Miers would not be my type of Justice, I still find today to be a sad day.

I am hoping, however, soon to be Syked about the next nominee.

Jacques Cuze said...

I understand the President himself called Robert Bork up this morning.

HaloJonesFan said...

>Unlike Michael, my sympathy for
>her on a personal level is
>tempered by the fact that she
>accepted the nomination in the
>first place...

Yeah, what a stupid bitch she was, huh? I mean, if the President personally came to me and said "I need someone to do this, and I think you're the best man for the job" I'd just tell him to fuck right off because he obviously doesn't know what he's talking about!

>Hugh Hewitt, for example, will
>never, ever recover any vestage
>of credibility after his behavior
>in this affair.

Ho, ho, ho. I will lay ten dollars on the line that you won't even remember what he said two months from now. It will be like the flag-burning debate; nobody remembers what their position was, but everyone remembers that they held it very strongly.

I think that the right wing has been searching for this Miers-nomination business for a long time. It's a way to criticize Bush, so that they can have something to shove in liberals' faces. "See," say the right-wingers, "we don't blindly agree with everything the President does! We didn't support Miers, right?" Thus you get the almost religious fervor of anti-Miers, who was at worst vaguely questionable as a nominee.

Just let the usual system chew her up and spit her out? No! We have to all pile on, jumping on a bandwagon to demonstrate our refusal to buy the party line. The hope being that when the inevitable Iraq War debate starts, the Anti side can't just invalidate the Pro side's arguments by saying "You just believe anything the President says!" The Pro side can respond that some of their best friends are black--er, excuse me, they can respond that they didn't support the Miers nomination!

I do believe that there were some ulterior motives in Bush's nomination, although I also doubt that if she'd been confirmed he would have called it a mistake. What Bush really wanted was for the Democrats to publicly tear down a woman, and allow the Republicans to depict their side as so afflicted by partisan politics that they were useless. "The party of women's rights refused to confirm a woman," they'd say, "so how can you still be supporting them?"

He gets a bit of a side benefit, though, in that he can nominate another hugely controversial figure and suck all the attention away from the Plame business. Then, when that nomination goes down in flames (and the indictments are off the scope), he can nominate a nice little inoffensive nobody.

Goatwhacker said...


I think that the right wing has been searching for this Miers-nomination business for a long time. It's a way to criticize Bush, so that they can have something to shove in liberals' faces. "See," say the right-wingers, "we don't blindly agree with everything the President does! We didn't support Miers, right?"


Man if you think this the first time conservatives have criticized Bush you haven't been paying attention. Pick a conservative blog or publication at random, then go back and read posts or articles for the past few years. You'll probably see plenty of criticism.

I think both liberals and conservatives tend to regard the other side as monolithic, but that's hardly the case. As far as Miers goes, despite reading all kinds of opinions of her I still don't feel like I had a good handle on the situation. Most seemed to feel very strongly about her but many of the complaints had a contrived feel to them.

Pat Patterson said...

Well at least I picked the White Sox to win the World Series.

Mike's America said...

We don't have Miers to kick around anymore, but you can expect the Barabas wing of the Republican Party to find a new whipping boy soon enough.

The Barbas conservatives are blaming this whole mess on Bush for nominating Miers in the first place and falsely claim that they speak for "the base."

Well, I'm not sure which "base" they speak for, but the vast majority of persons who voted for Bush continued to support Miers.

But the Barabas conservatives shouted louder.

A few more thoughts from my post on the subject:

*In the Miers debacle Republicans have turned the old rallying cry: "Give them an up or down vote"upside down.

*Republicans in the Senate have overturned the principle of protecting Executive Branch documents.

*After witnessing this latest episode can we know expect our GOP Senators to grow a spine and defend an even more controversial nominee?

*Chris Matthews summed it up this way: "Bush is lame duck with broken right wing."